October Is National Farm To School MonthMon 01 Oct 2012
Story by the Food Revolution Team
October is here, bringing with it National Farm to School month in the USA. Farm to School Month is a time to celebrate the connections that are happening all over the country between schools and local food.
What is Farm to School?
Farm to School is defined as any program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities and supporting local and regional farmers. Through Farm to School programs, which exist in all 50 states, students learn about in seasonal and local foods with programs being as diverse as the communities that they exist in.
Its well known that when students get to grow and harvest their own food, and get to touch, feel, taste and cook real foods they are more likely to eat them. Many Farm to School programs allow students to get to know their fruit and vegetables, before they end up on their plate - based on the premise, that students will choose healthier foods including more fruits and vegetables if products are fresh, locally grown and picked at their peak flavor and if those choices are reinforced with educational activities.
Not only do Farm to School programs teach students about the benefits of local in seasonal produce and encourage them to eat more fruits and vegetables, but they also provide benefits to the entire community:
The choice of healthier options in the cafeteria through Farm to School meals results in consumption of more fruits and vegetables with an average increase of 0.99 to 1.3 servings per day, including at home (1).
Schools report a 3 to 16% increase in school meal participation when farm-fresh food is served through Farm to School programs (1).
Farm to School programs open new markets for farmers and help expand their customer base by raising awareness about local food systems (1).
Farm to School programs are also known to increase school meal participation rates (1).
How are you celebrating Farm to School Month?
What Farm to School initiatives are in place in your local schools and what benefits have you seen through these? How are you celebrating Farm to School month?
Let us know by posting on our Food Revolution Community facebook page, along with photos from your local programs!
Find out more about Farm to school and how you can get the initiative started in your locals schools on the National Farm to School Month website.
The Food Revolution Team
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